Most who are familiar with Randy Pausch first learned of him through his Last Lecture. The Youtube video of his speech has received almost 6 million views already. If you haven’t yet made time to watch the speech, I encourage you to make time (make, not find) to watch it in its entirety. Many think nothing of wasting 60 minutes to watch a weekly reality TV show. Skip one week and instead watch Pausch’s lecture.
But don’t stop at the last lecture… I also encourage you to watch a lesser known video from Pausch. This video includes his thoughts on time management. If there was anyone who knew how to make the most out of limited time, it was Randy Pausch.
I’ve always considered myself competent in terms of time management. Yet, over the years, my business has grown, my family has grown (wife, 2 kids, 2 dogs), and the days just seem to be shorter and shorter. There are definitely moments when I don’t know how I can get everything done.
When I first started my website in 2001, I decided that I would personally respond to every email. Perhaps it helped that I was only responding to 3 or 4 emails. My email duty took about 5 minutes a day. Things have changed however. A day doesn’t pass without less than 100 emails. I still respond to everyone personally however. In my opinion, if you run a business, you better be there to answer questions. If you can’t respond, hire someone who can. If I walk into a store and have a question, I expect someone to help. Many online businesses seem to have dropped this simple courtesy however. I recently purchased a piece of training equipment and haven’t heard from the company in several weeks. I’ve sent emails regarding the supposed shipment and have yet to receive a response. I still don’t know if my order was processed. And in case they are reading, I can gladly list your company name for thousands to see on this blog
Anyways, back to the subject of time management. I once had a customer call and ask to speak with customer support. I told him that he was speaking with customer support. Before I had a chance to say “This is Ross,” he cut me off and asked to speak with the billing department. He wanted to add a book to a shirt order, and wanted to change the shirt size from medium to large. I told him that he is speaking to billing. He then asked if it was possible to speak with the shipping department. Once again I told him he is speaking to the shipping department. He then thought I was joking, so asked if I knew how to get in touch with Ross. I told him that he already was. In the time since, I’ve received several similar calls. I also receive emails with messages such as “If Ross sees this, can you please ask him…”
I typically respond by saying that if anyone but Ross is seeing this, we both have a problem. I’m the only one here, so don’t expect anyone else to read anything.
In addition to responding to emails and shipping orders, I’m also in the gym each day working with athletes, often for several hours at a time. If we are traveling to spar, it may fill the better half of a day. When someone emails me however, they don’t care about where we traveled for sparring. They have a question and are looking for an answer. I make the most of my time and get back to everyone, one by one.
Perhaps one day I’ll need to hire someone. I honestly don’t know. Regardless of what happens however, I will continue to make the absolute most out of each minute of every day. And if the time comes when I no longer enjoy my job, I will make a change. In my opinion, these two simple elements should be a part of everyone’s life. Love what you do and make the most of your time. Without time management skills, this wouldn’t be possible (for me). I don’t know if I would love my job if I couldn’t keep up and was stressed out 24/7. It would be difficult to find joy in such an environment.
Fortunately, the video above includes many useful ideas regarding time management. If you find yourself struggling in this department, set aside some time (a one time investment in time) and you’ll likely pick up on several valuable tips. I certainly learned some new ideas that I’ve already started to implement.
Anyways, that’s enough for this sleep deprived blog entry. I’ve gone off on a few tangents and may not have made a whole lot of sense. Hopefully my original message is heard however. Make some time to watch Pausch’s video. The more I watch from him, the more I realize that we can all learn something from Randy Pausch.